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Published January 08 2009

Bemidji State student on ‘Millionaire’ tonight

Bemidji, Minn.

Jacqui Gillis will make her TV debut today when the Bemidji State University sophomore will appear on “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire,” a trivia game show hosted by Meredith Vieira.

Gillis told “Millionaire” she is a real “trivia geek” and her opportunity to be on the show was the dream of a lifetime.

“I loved it,” the 19-year-old said in a telephone interview this week from Chicago, where she is home for winter break.

Gillis, who cannot reveal the results of the show before it airs at 6:30 tonight on KVLY, Channel 11 in Fargo-Moorhead, flew to New York City last fall for the Sept. 22 taping of the show.

Gillis auditioned for the show last summer in Detroit when she drove there with her mother.

The two had been watching television together when they learned about the “Millionaire” auditions. After traveling from Chicago to Detroit, Gillis stood in a long line of potential contestants to take a test. She passed, and began the interview process. The wait then began to see if she would be selected as a contestant.

On move-in day last fall at BSU, Gillis was talking with her new resident assistant when her phone rang. It was a New York phone number; she was selected for the show.

Her parents, Roy and Shannon Gillis, drove from Chicago to New York City and met her there the night before the taping. They sat in the “Millionaire” audience during the show.

Gillis said she wanted her father to be her sports “Phone a Friend,” but he insisted on sitting in the audience with her.

“He knows everything there is to know about sports,” she said.

Gillis said Vieira was very nice. In between commercials, she said, Vieira coached her along, saying “You’re doing great.”

When the show airs today, Gillis will be watching with her entire family at her aunt’s house.

The Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.